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miliating circumstance. He was to come, indeed, of the royal line of David, but not when the race of David were kings. When they had long ceased to sway the sceptre of Israel and Judah, and had sunk into insignificance and poverty, then the Messiah was to come "as a root out of a dry ground."
"He hath no form nor comeliness. "-From this passage it is said, Justin Martyr, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, and others of the ancient fathers, thought our Saviour's person had been deformed. In the fourth century St. Jerome, and others after him, supposed that Christ was a person of extraordinary beauty, taking their notion of him from Psalm xlv. 3, "Thou art fairer than the children of men." Here we see two opinions of the person of Christ diametrically opposite, and perhaps both of them wrong: they are certainly founded in mistake, for they take that literally which the Scripture applies figuratively and spiritually. When the Psalmist speaks of the Saviour as being "fairer than the children of men," "it is with reference to those spiritual excellencies which he had above all others, his holiness, meekness, humility, patience, and every other grace which shone forth in him; and when the Prophet declares, that he hath no form nor comeliness," it refers to the unworthy treatment which he was to meet with from the world. When his face was covered with shame and sorrow, foul with spitting, black with bruises and buffetings, covered with wounds and blood, and when at length he was nailed to the cross, and put to open shame, then it appeared that "he had no form nor comeliness;" for "his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men." Isaiah, lii. 14. We know nothing of the features, stature, or complexion of our blessed Saviour; and it shows the wisdom of God
that no picture or likeness of him has been suffered to exist: no, not even a description of our Lord's person is to be found in the Scriptures. If there had, it would have gratified curiosity, pleased the carnal mind, perhaps have promoted idolatry, but it would not have promoted love to Christ, or faith in his name. Believers are to look to Jesus with the eye of faith, not of sense; to know Christ, not after the flesh but after the spirit; for it is the spiritual knowledge of Christ that distinguishes the believer as a new creature from what he was before in a state of ignorance and unbelief. "Yea," says St. Paul, "though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more."-2 Cor. v. 16.
The Prophet adds, "and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." By nature, we see no beauty in the divine and holy Saviour; and not seeing his beauty, we can have no desire of him. If, indeed, our eyes are opened by the word and spirit of God, we shall see the Saviour's beauty; nay, we cannot help seeing it, as a person who has the benefit of sight sees the sun when it shines; but by nature we can see no beauty in Jesus. It was so when Jesus came into the world; none but those whose eyes were opened by divine grace could see his beauty or desire him as their Saviour. The carnal mind could see no beauty in our Lord's character, in his divine sayings, his great miracles, his holy life, his heavenly doctrine, his wonderful person, God and man in Christ; nor in that mysterious plan of redemption through his sufferings and death upon the cross. The case is the same now. If a man has no desire for the Saviour, why is it? It is because he has never seen with the eye of faith the Saviour's spiritual beauty and excellency. He has no idea of
the preciousness of Christ Jesus; he feels no need of his blood to cleanse the soul from sin, of his righteousness to justify, nor of the Holy Spirit to renew and sanctify the heart. Natural men look upon Jesus as having 66 no form nor comeliness," because their hearts are filled with the desire and love of worldly things. They see something desirable in the things of this life, but nothing to be desired in the Lord Jesus; and this shows that the eyes of their understanding have not been enlightened by the word and Spirit of God; yea, that they are blinded by sin and Satan; for, saith the Apostle, our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them who are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.' -2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.
May it be the prayer of our hearts, that the Lord would open our eyes by his grace to see the glory and beauty of the divine Saviour; that he would give us such a view of Jesus by faith, that the prevailing desire of our hearts may be to "win Christ, and be found in him!" For, though Jesus has no beauty to the carnal mind, which is taken with outward pomp or show, with worldly honour and grandeur, yet to the spiritual mind he is altogether lovely. That he condescended to grow up before the Lord" as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground;" to appear in the world without that outward form, and comeliness, and beauty, which would have attracted the notice and engaged the affections of worldly men-this, instead of diminishing, adds to the beauty of his divine character. Never did he appear more beautiful and glorious than in his lowest state of humiliation. Then shone forth his meekness and patience, and
every other grace that adorned AUGUST 1822.
his character. Then appeared his exceeding great love to his faithful people; for, how great was that love which induced him to strip himself of his heavenly glory, that he might appear on earth without form and comeliness! If our minds can discern what true glory and beauty is, we shall perceive that Jesus has it beyond all others; and this view of the spiritual beauty of Christ will lead us to see our own deformity by reason of sin, and to desire that we may be clothed with a better righteousness than our own, even the spotless righteousness of Jesus Christ, "which is unto all and upon all them that believe."
It is a comfortable thought for the believing soul, who desires Jesus and his salvation, that this desire shall be granted: "He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him; he also will hear their cry, and will save them."-Psalm cxlv. 19. Those who by grace really desire Jesus as their Saviour, and who manifest that desire by seeking him when and where he is to be found, shall surely have him. He will dwell in their hearts now by faith, and they shall dwell with him in everlasting glory. Then they shall see "the King in his beauty." His divine glory shall not then be hid as it was upon earth, under the veil of outward poverty. He shall no more appear without form and comeliness, but clothed with majesty and honour. Ten thousand angels shall proclaim his glory, and say, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing."-Rev. v. 12. But where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear in that day, who had no eye to see the Saviour's beauty, and no heart to desire his great salvation? He shall see Jesus, not as his Saviour, but as his offended Judge, coming to execute vengeance upon him, and for
ever to exclude him from the enjoyment of his heavenly glory. O then, may the Lord open our eyes to see the beauty of Jesus now, and awaken in our hearts fervent desires towards him as our Sa
viour, that we may look to him by faith, and then through his merits, "when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."-1 John, iii. 2.
THE SUNDAY AFTER ASCENSION DAY. On the fortieth day after his resurrection, the Saviour ascended up into heaven in the sight of his disciples, whom he enjoined to wait at Jerusalem for the promised descent of the Comforter. According to the plan already pursued, we pass by for the present the service appointed for the Ascension Day, and proceed to that of the Sunday following; in which we are to view the Church placing herself as it were in the situation of the Apostles, during the time of their waiting at Jerusalem till the day of Pentecost. The Collect is evidently drawn up under this kind of impression. The Gospel refers to the giving of the Comforter, that he may testify of Christ, and prepare the Apostles for fulfilling their office under all their difficulties and persecutions. The Epistle reminds us of making a right use of the gifts of the Spirit of truth, in the prospect of the end of all things at hand." This view of the subject may be improved by the Church in general, by renewed and earnest supplications for the graces and consolation of the Holy Spirit, according to the implied direction of our Redeemer: "Can the children of the bride-chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they mourn:" and by anxious prayer and expectation for the time when the "Spirit shall be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest." It may also be improved by, and no doubt it was intended to meet, the
case of those who, "having received the truth in the love of it, wait for fuller manifestations of the Spirit, namely, to be sealed by the holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." This seems to bring us to the very point, where every humble worshipper would desire to fix himself for his own personal edification in the consideration of this day's service, and it sets the whole of it in a very interesting point of view, especially the Epistle-1 St. Pet. iv. 7-11.
The end of all things is at hand. -The Gospel dispensation in a peculiar manner presses home this warning; not only as it is the last dispensation, but as it bespeaks the near approach of the kingdom of glory, and gives the true believer an assured hope of soon entering upon it. Be ye therefore_sober, and watch unto prayer.-In our present condition, considering what we are in ourselves, what dangers we are surrounded by, prayer is an important duty, but liable to many hinderances, against which we are called to watch: and were we more sober in our use of the things of this life, we should be more awake to the occasions when this duty is called for, to the due exercise of it when engaged in, and more alive to the benefits we receive from it. Worldly-mindedness poisons all our blessings as well as our duties in religion; and to no dispositions is it so much opposed as the love of the brethren. The Apostle, therefore, in a peculiar manner urges us to the exercise of this duty in order
to promote spiritual religion. And above all things have fervent charity (love) among yourselves. Were this precept attended to as it ought to be, the spiritual interests of the Church, and the individuals of it, would be much promoted, and many of the errors of professors checked, and offences now deplored would never have come to light. This I conceive to be the meaning of the words, for charity shall cover the multitude of sins: which are evidently a quotation from Prov. x. 12; "Hatred stirreth up strife; but love covereth all sins." The want of Christian love causes disunion; and a sense of this in the less established disciple no doubt diminishes both his security and his responsibility: while, on the other hand, nothing in the way of moral influence so much prepares the mind to resist temptation as the experience of Christian sympathy and regard. Use hospitality one to another without grudging.-This also tends to promote Christian love, and in those times (as indeed in the present, its more general adoption would prevent much intercourse with the world) it was peculiarly necessary for Christians to have recourse in their journeys to each other's assistance. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.-A strong sense of our deep obligations to divine grace would engage us in a more faithful occupation of every talent consigned to our care, as stewards only of every gift with which we are blessed. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.-How high a trust is this, to bear a message of mercy to God's people! let all labour to be faithful in the discharge of it, diffusing into their ministrations the earnestness which such a responsibility ought to inspire. If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth. This admonition is
peculiarly important, both as it respects the receiver and the giver; that God, the fountain of all good, may be constantly regarded, and the good done have this issue; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ; to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
The Gospel, St. John, xv. 26xvi. 1-3, contains an explicit statement of the nature of the testimony of the Spirit of truth to the Apostles and to all believers, that he should bear witness to the suitableness of the character of Christ as their Redeemer, and that by this they should be fitted for the difficulties of their profession. When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.-It was not without important reasons, that the descent of the Holy Ghost was delayed till after the ascent of their Lord, that the disciples might be fully assured of the truth of his mission, of the purposes of divine grace revealed in the Gospel, and of the complete provision made for their reconciliation through the blood of Jesus, and that they might be confirmed in the belief of those truths they were commissioned to preach to all the world. And by adding, that the Spirit should testify of Jesus to the Apostles, and through them and the preaching of the word in every age to all that receive it, the Saviour meant to point out this as the full developement of the mystery which had been partially revealed by former dispensations; for "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.-This evidently implies, that the testimony of the Apostles should be subservient and secondary to that of the Spirit through them to the hearts of their hearers. Dignified as this office
was, they had no reason to be elevated in the prospect of it: their Master had already warned them of trials to be experienced in bearing it, and here he renews the warning: These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be of fended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doeth God service. This warning would tend to confirm the Apostles in the conviction of the truth of their cause; and while they were led by trouble to inquire more and more closely into their own experimental knowledge of God, they would discover, and be the more fully impressed with the discovery, the gross ignorance of their persecutors as to the character of God. These things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father nor me: but these things have I told you, that when the time shall come ye may remember that I told you of them.-And will He that thus forewarns his people of their trials, forget them in their difficulties? “In all their afflictions, He is afflicted:" and the presence of Jesus with a persecuted or despised disciple, may well compensate for all losses, and reconcile him to every hardship.
If, then, there be any consolation in Christ, it is from that testimony of the Spirit we are at this season taught to look for. Are you, reader, a consistent member
in this respect? Do you really make the Collects the language of the heart? or do you despise and neglect such consolation? An evil heart of unbelief may deny its existence in others, or obscure it in ourselves; but no language can declare the unsearchable riches of Christ. A glorified spirit in the pure and holy presence of God can alone take up the resolution of the ransomed of the Lord, and say, Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
Pray, then, that the Spirit may lead you to the Saviour; that he may seal your pardon in his blood; that he may create and maintain peace in your heart; that he may teach you to look for the second coming of our Lord with joy; to be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to make your requests known unto God, that the peace of God may keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
"O God the King of glory, who hast exalted thine only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven; we beseech thee, leave us not comfortless; but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen. W.
MEMOIR OF MISS E. RUCK. MISS Elizabeth Ruck, the subject of the present brief memoir, was early instructed in the principles of sound morality, and trained up in the communion of the Established Church. Her mind, however, was not duly impressed with the power of religion until the latter end of the year 1818, when she was called to attend the dying bed of a beloved sister. The so
lemnities of this scene, together with the pious and affectionate addresses of the Rev. J. Stock, then curate of the parish, were instrumental in awakening her to the importance of religion, and in inducing her to apply for an interest in that sacrifice which has been mercifully provided as the ransom of a perishing world.
Miss R. perceived, in the ex